Drop, and Give Me….How Many????

I’m heading off to San Francisco, blizzard gods willing (update: they’re not, I’m holed up in an airport hotel watching it snow after a two hour battle up here because my flight showed “ON TIME” until I pulled into the airport!), to teach a seminar for National Geographic Traveler with my buddy Ralph Lee Hopkins. I’m going to hang a few extra days and shoot some stock.

Okay, stop laughing. Travel stock of San Francisco? Good luck selling it. Yeah, yeah, I know.  But I’ve never really shot there, so I’m doing it for the therapy value. Peggy and I lived in the Bay Area when we were first married and I was in acting school (at the American Conservatory Theater), and I hardly ever get back and I always wanted to shoot it. So who cares if it never sells? At least that’s what my therapist says….

So the blog will be a little quiet and I thought I’d share a couple more shots from the New Hope portrait project. Like the one above of Dan and Katie, proprietors of New Hope Fitness. Now that’s what I call strength training. This shot was a lot easier for me to pull off than it was for Dan. All I did was use the regular big softlight I wrote about in the previous post.

A more difficult challenge came lighting Adele, the Ghost Lady of New Hope. Adele gives ghost tours of town, and you really need a scorecard in this town because it’s full of them, from as far back as the Revolutionary War and beyond.

To get the basic “ghoul” lighting, we took the big lightbox off the stand and aimed it up  from the floor. That was a cool effect, but the lantern candle wasn’t quite cutting it, and we had a shadow of her arm across her face.

We bypassed the candles (truth is, I knew they’d never be bright enough) and instead put in a little Morris mini flash slave in the lantern to simulate the lantern light. Then all we had to do was balance the light from the box hitting all the black of her outfit with the light from the slave hitting her face—-piece of cake.

Only took twenty minutes until we had enough ND material in the lantern to provide a good balance. Then we had to work out a position where the highlights in Adele’s glasses weren’t too distracting (couldn’t get rid of them altogether—-the studio space we’re shooting in is said to be haunted too, and the ghost just wouldn’t let me have an easy time of it!).

But, thanks to Adele’s patience and good relationship with the spirit side, we got off a fun shot.

This Post Has 15 Comments

    1. Thanks Reza: Your site is beautiful, as well as your country. I was in Isfahan visiting friends who were teaching English to helicopter pilots when the revolution happened…. right around the time you were born, I’m guessing.

      We managed to get out without a hitch right as the US Embassy thing was happening, but I had just started exploring Iran and it is a beautiful country. I hope to go back someday.

      all the best, Bob

  1. Hi Bob!

    I hope the weather clears. Turning in now for the 7 hour drive tomorrow! See you Sunday (I hope)

    /doing the rain dance backwards


  2. I am enjoying your New Hope project, which has inspired me to do a similar one on Bluff, Utah, a community that Tom Brokaw once described as being inhabited by “200-odd people”. Of course, he meant “approximately 200” people but “odd” is also appropriate. I also want to try adding sound. I see in your excellent book Travel Photography that you are now using a Zoom H2 recorder. Have you found that to be better than your Olympus LS-10? Please say Howdy to Ralph if (when) you make it to S.F. Thanks. P.S. An update on my tiny Acer Aspire 1410 – CS3 and Lightroom have been working flawlessly on Windows 7. 🙂

  3. Hi Bob,

    I live in San Francisco and have sold quite a few photos taken in the city – including Postcard Row on Alamy Square and the Golden Gate Bridge – but these have been unique viewpoints.

    1. Fabian: Congrats….it’s good to be unique! Bob

  4. Bob, I am enjoying the New Hope project and will check out Zoubi next time I am in town. Hope you and Ralph have a great session in San Fran. If you get this in time, send him my regards. I look forward to seeing your SF pics. I worked in the city for several years and always love visitng there…and your weather MUST be better than it is here!

    1. renee: there’s no comparison on the weather…oh the Bay Area, it’s hard to beat. Bob

  5. bob thanks for making the trip. i attended your class today and learned a whole lot. great dynamic that you and ralph brought to the classroom. thoroughly enjoyed all the anecdotes, insight, and knowledge.

    1. Thanks Brian. Ralph and I had a good time too. I appreciate you coming out for the event. all the best, Bob

  6. Hi Bob,

    Off topic a bit… I just flipped my calendar over to March. LOVE that church shot! Wispy cirrus clouds, beautiful scene. The cross on the steeple stands out in the white of the cloud, not lost in the dark of the sky. Very nice.

    1. Thanks Mike. Sometimes, you luck out with the clouds! Bob

  7. Hi Bob,

    Had a great time at the class last weekend. My friend was glad he came along as well. Good to finally see you in person, been reading your books and OP columns for years.

    I overheard you overtalking point-and-shoots with another attendee during one of the breaks but missed most of the conversation. What are you shooting these days for your point-and-shoot?

    1. Hi Skunk: Nice to meet you as well. Until Nikon gets their Coolpix act together, I’ve been using a Canon S90. Truthfully, I don’t shoot much with it, and I’m more likely to take along my little Kodak Zi8 video camera than a still point and shoot. Bob

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